Essex expert named new Deputy Chief Dental Officer

  • Date

    Mon 20 Nov 23

Professor Nick Barker

An Essex dental expert has been appointed England’s new Deputy Chief Dental Officer.

Professor Nick Barker, of Oral Health Sciences, will work with local and regional NHS teams to deliver improved outcomes for patients across the country.

Key to this will be working to recover capacity and capability in dental care services and maintaining a focus on dental system and contract reform.

Professor Barker said: “I am delighted to have been appointed as the substantive Deputy Chief Dental Officer of England where I will be working with an enthusiastic and knowledgeable team of professionals.

“Having worked under the NHS Dental Contractual regulatory framework since 1991, I feel I have a good grasp of what working within NHS primary care services in dentistry is like.

“The NHS has introduced initial contract reform measures so dental teams can carry out even more treatments and address the inevitable backlogs that built up during the pandemic, while record numbers of dentists, dental therapists and hygienists will be trained as part of the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan. However, we know that there is more work to do to.

“I will be working closely with colleagues in NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care to increase the pace of change of reform. I look forward to inputting into such discussions and system transformation.”

Professor Barker had been working as a senior clinical policy advisor to the Chief Dental Officer since July 2023 and will work alongside another newly appointed Deputy Chief Dental Officer, Shabir Shivji, and Interim Chief Dental Officer, Jason Wong.

Professor Barker qualified as a General Dental Practitioner in 1990 and is a Principal Dentist in Colchester.

He has been a Local Dental Network Chair in Essex since 2013, providing clinically-led commissioning of primary and secondary care dental services across the county.

In his previous role as a senior clinical policy advisor, Professor Barker led on a number of projects, including the medicines exemptions programme, dental reform and medico-legal matters.

Professor Victoria Joffe, Dean of Integrated Health and Care partnerships at the University of Essex, said: “We are very proud that Nick Barker, Professor of Oral Health Science at the School of Health and Social Care, University of Essex has recently been appointed as the Deputy Chief Dental Officer of England.

“Nick is a very highly valued member of the Division of Oral Health Science and the School, and will make a significant contribution to the delivery of dental care, in the same way he is working with us to transform dental education at the University.”